Former Red Bulls midfielder Derrick Etienne, Jr. won’t play for Columbus Sunday. (Photo courtesy of MLS)
Seven Columbus Crew SC players have tested positive for COVID-19 and won’t play against Nashville SC in its MLS Cup Playoff game Sunday night.
The seven players starting goalkeeper Eloy Room and winger Derrick Etienne Jr., a former Red Bulls midfielder, and reserve players Waylon Francis, Sebastian Berhalter, Miguel Berry and Jon Kempin. Defender Vito Wormgoor, who was also listed, has been sidelined most of the season with an ankle injury.
The 8 p.m. ET Eastern Conference semifinal game still will be played at MAPFRE Stadium.
“We have received results from today’s COVID-19 testing and all results came back negative with the exception of one individual which was an anticipated positive result,” Crew SC spokesman Tim Miller told the media Saturday. “This individual had previously been separated from the locker room, gym and team training.”
Crew SC head coach coach Caleb Porter told the Columbus Dispatch Saturday that the game was safe to play because the virus outbreak had been controlled.
“We feel like this virus is contained within our team and we feel that way based on — not my opinion — based on the experts and the doctors and the league advice,” he was quoted by the newspaper.
“If [the game] wasn’t safe, we wouldn’t be excited for the game, we wouldn’t want to play the game, but we rely on the doctors, our medical experts, the government, and (we) rely on the league.”